Earlier this month, the Department of Justice announced that it has created a task force to investigate nursing homes for neglect and abuse of elderly residents as part of its National Nursing Home Initiative. The task force was created to “focus on poor hygiene and nutrition, withholding pain medication, using sedation or restraints when they are not warranted and moldy or rat-infested patient rooms.”
The task force currently has 30 active investigations going in nine states. Potentially problematic is that the government has determined to prosecute nursing homes for “grossly substandard care,” which has not been defined under federal law. As such, it will be hard for nursing homes to know what degree of neglect or substandard conditions incurs criminal liability.
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